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Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus is the acclamation that rings in our hearts in this season on Advent. It’s a grace-filled season calling us to look forward for our Lord’s coming into us. It’s a joy filled season because we recall the birth of the Savior 2018 years back in the simple manger of Bethlehem. Secondly it’s a hope-fulled season because we are waiting for the triumphant second coming of Christ. Thirdly, this season fills us with grace when Jesus is born in every person and situation around us. Let this great event give us the three fold experience of joy, hope and grace. Let us open our hearts to the Lord to be born there.

December is a month filled with various events. The second batch of retreat will be there in the seminary from 9 to 14. Those who have not made the annual retreat in the 1st batch, please do it now. Two of the diocesan shrines celebrate the annual feasts. St Joseph Vaz at Mudipu on 6, 7 and 8th and Our Lady of Pompei at Urwa on 9th of this month. Promote these annual celebrations through your presence and services required at the shrines and encourage the faithful to participate in them. Popular devotions are moments of evangelization. The festal occasions could be used to make Christ known and loved.

A brain-storming programme for our lay leaders is to be held on 4 December from 9.30 am till 1.00 pm at Bendur hall. All the vice presidents of the Parish Pastoral Parishad, members of the Diocesan Pastoral Parishad and a few prominent leaders of our community are invited for this programme. If any member of the Diocesan Pastoral Parishad and vice presidents of the Parish Pastoral Parishad has not received the invitation, please consider this as the official invitation. This programme is held in view of evolving a pastoral plan for the diocese.

After taking over the office by me, the first meeting of Council of priests will be held on the fore-noon of 6 December. The agenda is already posted to the members. I am also happy to form the new college of consultors, whose list is published in this Internos separately. This college of consultors will come to existence from 6 December 2018 for a period of five years. I wish them well. Soon the Finance Committee of the Diocese will be formed after consulting the college of consultors.

Christmas is a very meaningful event. God Incarnate is coming to meet humans. Let this message be reflected in us especially in our ministry. Fathers, a number of people are complaining that priests are not available for their needs. Availability is part of our ministry. Let us be priests of the people and for the people. Let us reflect the tenderness and mercy of God in our dealings with them. Please do not lay down too many rules to the people in meeting their pastor. Our people are happy to have their priests with them. Indeed some priests have become the pride of their flock. Do continue to imitate the Master who desired to live with the people. Christmas is the feast of God meeting His people. Please encourage the faithful to organize “Bandutva Christmas” in every ward together with the people of other faith traditions. Soon I will send my message which could be read out during the “Bandutva Christmas.” It is another way we participate in the incarnation of Christ, our Lord.

Pope Francis has constituted on 10 April 2018 “Pope’s World-wide Prayer Network” (PWPN) which is a new name for the “Apostleship of Prayer.” We have received the statutes which will be published soon. We have to act in this direction.

I thank you sincerely for participating in the Laudato Si “Green Sunday” programme. Do continue to encourage our people, especially youth, to protect and nurture plants and give them special incentive for caring for our common home.

We are thinking of dedicating the year 2019 to Youth in our diocese. Recently the Synod was held in Rome in the month of October. It is the need of the hour to keep our youth close to God, close to the Church; besides we need to address the challenges that our youth face today. We will take a resolution to this effect in the Council of priests meeting on 6 December. This will be formally inaugurated during the Diocesan Eucharistic procession on 6 January, 2019. I request all the priests in the parish and institution to encourage our youth to participate in the Eucharistic procession in good number. I wish you all a very happy Christmas. God Bless us all.

+ Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha
Bishop of Mangalore

 

 

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